My new 2018 Yamaha MT-07 arrived in mid-April via BMW Motorcycles of Jacksonville (owner Don P also has a Yamaha dealership nearby). I decided to simplify my everyday fleet, trading in both my Tiger 800 and Versys X300 for this bike which nicely splits their numbers. It weighs only 400 lbs wet, nearly as light as the Versys, yet sports 70+ HP providing surprisingly brisk performance. The 2018 also sports improved suspension as compared to prior versions.

I bought a few things for it even before it was delivered. First were a pair of "amber" (actually bright yellow) CREE lights for visibility. I had these on the Versys and they make a huge difference in others seeing you. Installation was pretty easy. The lights bolted to the fender mounts with only a small spacer, and Yamaha thoughtfully provides a fused accessory power connector. I wired my GPS into this connector as well.

Also, I purchased a Yoshimura tail tidy as the single most jarring part of the MT, in my eyes, was the junk hanging off the seat. Someone appropriately tagged it the "tow hitch". The Yoshi is a very nicely made piece of kit and goes together beautifully, though a lot of plastic requires removal to get it in place.

I constructed a homemade rack of Plexiglas that replaces the rear seat to carry touring luggage. For day rides, I adapted a Cortech tank bag to serve as a small tail bag. Both of these were done with stuff laying about the Garage.

The bike still needs a small windscreen, but for now there are none available as the mounting bolts are 10mm off from previous models.

So far, I am really happy with this purchase. The performance and handling are all I could hope for. The 270 degree crank motor is sweet and torquey, the gearshifting perfect, and the ride is fine after adjusting the rear shock a bit. My first few tanks are getting about 58mpg, not too shabby.

In late May my oldest riding buddy, Neil Fogelberg, and I headed out for a trip to North Carolina to visit the Wheels Through Time museum.

Our ride managed to coincide with the first tropical storm of 2018. We rode 400 miles, through several deluges, before arriving in Helen, GA. The town center had flooded the day before and the river was a raging torrent.

The next morning heading to Maggie Valley we encountered running water and even mud slides before reaching the museum. Afterward  we had a hundred fabulous mountain miles before again running into torrential rain. Fording deep running water, we holed up in an Anderson, SC motel spending the evening drying out our gear.

The ride home proved uneventful in comparison, being hot and showery. The Yamaha did yeoman duty through all this, carrying my "stuff" in a watertight bag attached to the homemade rack with Rok Straps.